Sunday, June 9, 2013

Making the Most of My Milk

We are swimming in milk!  Hard to believe we can all be getting so much after the low production in the winter months.

I walked out to the cooler this morning, counted quart jars, and put together my work plan for the day.  I started with the Cheddar, because it takes the longest.

Using a turkey roaster to make Cheddar cheese

While the milk was heating to the required 88º, I started heating milk for yogurt.  I have to pasteurize the milk for yogurt, since I don't want the natural (good) bacteria in raw milk to compete with the l. Bulgaricus culture that makes my yogurt so thick.  Very often gelatin or powdered milk is used to make the yogurt set up well, to have a custard-y consistency.  But Bulgarian yogurt is naturally thick, so it needs to be the only bacteria in the milk.

Milk heating to 180º

I really have a LOT of milk, and I skim the cream from the milk I use for making kefir.  So I have a lot of cream as well.  Time to make Lemon Ice Cream.  Yum!

Built in chiller, no work ice cream
While it may be romantic to hand crank an old ice cream machine with ice and salt packed around the cylinder, I love my Cuisinart ice cream maker.  It has a built in chiller.  Make the base, pour it in, turn the knob to 45 minutes and walk away!

And last but not least, I took the time and effort to make ricotta today.  When the pigs were here, they got it all, but they have gone to the butcher, and so there is all that whey!  And the chickens can take just so much of it.  So I brought two big pots of whey to a boil, added vinegar and strained it through a butter muslin bag to catch the small, delicate curds.

Ricotta cheese draining
So what is my reward for all of this work?  For breakfast, I had a two-egg omelet (from my chickens) with plenty of butter, and filled with homemade Cheddar cheese.  Delicious!

For dinner, I'm having a casserole made with a layer of low carb noodles and chile (my beef), then a thick layer of ricotta made fresh today, then more noodles and chile, and a topping of grated Cheddar.  I'm not sure what to call it.  Hopefully I will call it "good!"